Shane Sutherland hopes the foundations have been set for a winning run which can catapult Caley Thistle up the Championship table.
Inverness recorded a 2-0 victory over Raith Rovers in their last outing at Caledonian Stadium on November 21 and go into tomorrow’s trip to Queen of the South fresh from a 13-day break.
The result took the Highlanders to within a point of the play-off places, with five games played.
With the trip to Dumfries followed by a home match against Dundee, prior to away games against Alloa Athletic and Morton, Sutherland feels Caley Thistle are approaching a crucial stage in the truncated second-tier season.
Sutherland said: “There isn’t a weak team in this league. People look at the part-time teams, but Arbroath and Alloa are good teams.
“Arbroath came up here and gave a good account of themselves. Outwith the wind ruining the game there wasn’t much in it, although we were obviously delighted to win the game.
“With it being a 27-game season as well, if you can get that run of four, five or six wins in a row you will take some stopping. We need to kick on now.”
Sutherland joined Caley Thistle in the summer after leaving League Two side Elgin, where he racked up 99 goals across four spells at Borough Briggs.
During his final season with the Black and Whites, Sutherland came up against title winners Cove Rangers, who have thrived in League One and sit just a point off leaders Falkirk.
Sutherland feels Cove are a prime example of how winning breeds success. The 30-year-old added: “You look at Cove, who have gone up to League One and have hit the ground running.
“That has been three or four seasons now they have been used to winning every week and the confidence is there.
“You are flying high and going into every game thinking you are going to win. If you are a striker you feel you are going to score and you feel you are going to keep a clean sheet if you are a defender.
“You do it as a player, but if you are not winning games it becomes a little more difficult.
“It’s just about trying to breed a bit of confidence and win games.”
Sutherland is among a number of senior Caley Thistle players who have returned to contention in recent weeks, having been out for a month with a hamstring injury earlier in the campaign.
Miles Storey, Aaron Doran, Sean Welsh and James Vincent are also back in the fold.
Sutherland feels the return of so many experienced campaigners can help to take the strain off Caley Jags’ young players, who had carried the burden for John Robertson’s injury-ravaged squad in the early weeks of the season.
Sutherland added: “The performances have been good, with a lot of injuries and a lot of young boys playing consecutive games which they haven’t been so used to.
“It has been great for them and they have done great, but you need experience in any squad.
“Even if the experienced players aren’t in the starting 11 at the time, it’s good just having the boys on the bench that have played a lot of games.
“I have turned 30 and I have played a lot of games, albeit at a lower level. I have experienced a lot of games and it’s good for them to lean on us a little bit in times of need, especially when our backs are against the wall.”